Dear Reader | Don’t worry, we aren’t freezing out the stock listings permanently; Another comics quandary

Dear ReaderFebruary 17, 2014 

Carolyn Murray, editor for The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

At this time last week, we were making preparations for how to make sure we could get newspapers to readers and keep our website updated as the ice storm swept down upon us.

Frequently during such times, newspapers will establish early deadlines to make it easier for carriers to get the print edition delivered, and we established 5 p.m. deadlines for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday’s editions. It worked reasonably well as far as deliveries went, but despite notes published in each day’s edition, by Friday we spent a significant amount of time explaining to readers that no, we have not in fact decided our readers are not smart enough to understand the stock tables and we’ve decided not to run them anymore.

I’m not kidding, that’s the conclusion one caller jumped atop and shared in a lengthy voicemail message.

I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to leaping to the worst possible scenario if worrying about the safety of a loved one, but I try to extend good will when something else has caused me to question a less-than-undertandable action by a person or business.

The stock market closes each day at 4 p.m. Eastern time, but the information doesn’t come to us immediately upon close of trading. It takes the wire service until at least 6 p.m. and usually closer to 6:30 to get the data documented and shipped to us in the format necessary for publication. A 5 p.m. press time meant that we were unable to include that information.

It was back in the paper by Saturday, where it will remain unless it’s a holiday that closes the exchange (as was the case on Monday) or we have to make another choice between delivering the print edition and including the stock/mutual fund numbers. In that case, we will again err on the side of our delivery times.

Along those lines, thank you to all who stuck with us through the challenges created by the storm, and special thanks to those who shared their photos, videos and information about how they were faring.

And Mother Nature, if you’re tuning in, you’re not welcome ‘round here unless you are bringing mild temperatures and sunny skies.

Another comics quandary

Just when I thought the lineup on our comic pages had been established for the moment, along came word that Garry Trudeau, creator of “Doonesbury,” was going to stop producing daily strips so he can focus on a television show he created and produced.

The syndicate, Universal UClick, sent editors this announcement last week. “Last summer, Garry Trudeau took an extended leave from ‘Doonesbury’ to write and produce ‘Alpha House,’ an Amazon Instant Video comedy. Starring John Goodman, this political satire about four Republican senators sharing a house in Washington ended in a raucous finale last month that viewers applauded.”

Trudeau said this: “To my delight, Amazon Studios has recently decided to move forward with another season of 'Alpha House.' It's a wonderful opportunity, but as I discovered last year, the demands of producing the show are considerable, and my efforts to return to the daily strip while we were still in production had to be abandoned. This time, the Sunday releases will continue, and we'll be making Flashbacks available on a daily basis. With 43 years of material to draw from, there are still some 13,000 strips that haven't been seen since they were originally published.”

Those of you who responded to our earlier comic survey to say that Doonesbury was your must-read offering each day will be sorely disappointed to hear this. Those who would be happy never to see the comic darken your doorstep will be delighted.

We have the option to decline to run the past strips, and that’s the path I am inclined to take, largely because Doonesbury is so topical. I think the old strips will feel out of context for readers today.

And so, I am in the hunt for something to replace it Monday through Friday. Mallard Filmore fans take note, that strip isn’t offered by the Universal UClick syndicate that supplies Doonesbury, so it’s not in the running at this time.

Stay tuned. And as always, thanks for reading and sharing your questions and concerns.

He will continue to provide fresh weekend comics and will supply past strips revisiting the early days of the cartoon.

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